I’ve just finished reading ‘Thirst: Water and Power in the Ancient World‘ by Professor Steven Mithen. It is a very interesting read. While I skimmed parts of it, the first chapters on the birth of polities and the importance of water management for their survival where very interesting. China’s history with water management was equally fascinating – I knew parts of it, but there were some stories that I had not heard of before. I particularly enjoyed the author’s comments on the difference between a confucian and a taoist approach to “control” water. The chapter also gives us a glimpse of how – even though so many authors continue to insist in the idea that China did not have a word for seapower before the 20th century – water, rivers and the seas have long been used and abused to harness and project power.
All in all, the book is a great read for anyone with an interest in ancient history, water and/or the use of natural resources by humankind for its development.
By the way, I’ve long had a dormant goodreads.com account, which I recently started to use again. It isn’t particularly well curated, and for now I will mostly add books that have recently read, are currently reading or want to read. How I read books for my PhD research is very different from how I read fiction or other, unrelated non-fiction works. I haven’t yet decided whether I will add my PhD books to my goodreads account, perhaps I will create a separate shelf for those. In any case, feel free to follow me through goodreads if you fancy knowing more about the books I want to read or have just read. You can also find a link to it on the menu on the right hand side of this blog.
On my bedside I now have ‘Times alone: selected poems‘ by António Machado, and ‘The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do about It’, a book I bought at Judd Books in London after listening to an LSE event in which the book was presented.